Mind over matter: Alternatives to assist you in quitting smoking

Header image for the article Mind over matter: Alternatives to assist you in quitting smoking Credit: EMILY STEWART
What are you willing to do in the fight to quit smoking?

Unless you’re planning a trip to a country that doesn’t easily produce cigarettes for purchase and consumption, quitting smoking is not an easy task.

Cigarettes are easily available, found at every convenience store, gas station, and even some store fronts in shopping malls. Having the willpower to completely rewire your brain is an exhaustingly frustrating task and many struggle to succeed. An entire industry exists that attempts to assist smokers who want to quit, with products and services aimed to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety associated with the process.

Pharmaceutical products, e-cigarettes, vapes and nicotine patches are all alternatives to the ever-painful process of quitting cold turkey. Nowadays, the methods which people can choose extend beyond medication and apparatus, with options like hypnosis, laser therapy, and aversion therapy and magnet therapies.

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Magnet Therapies

This treatment claims that with the placement of magnets at the upper part of a person’s ear, over a period of time it will help a person quit smoking. The release of endorphins, generated by these magnets, mimic the effect of endorphin release that smokers experience when lighting up. The idea is to replace the smoker’s response to this feel-good chemical reaction by associating it with something other than just smoking.

Like all treatments and therapies, the weight of responsibility still falls on the shoulders of the smoker. This process is meant to help soften the addictive pull towards smoking, at least from a chemical standpoint, but the smoker needs to put in the work to fight the urges that do arise.

Aversion Therapy

How do you think you might feel if every time you ate a piece of pizza you threw up uncontrollably? This is the type of approach that aversion therapy takes, connecting unwanted behaviours and habits most often with an electrical shock. Over time this unpleasant physical jolt is meant to be associated with the unwanted habit, motivating the smoker to change their behaviour. Other forms of aversion therapy link unpleasant smells as well as sounds as replacement for the negative physical stimulus of a shock.

Laser Therapy

This treatment is similar to acupuncture as soft, cold lasers are directed to the same energy points used in acupuncture, to create the chemical reaction that releases endorphins in the body. This treatment is aimed at softening the effect of withdrawal and other side effects, namely weight gain, making it easier for the patient to navigate the terrain of smoking cessation. Often these treatments are paired with psychological treatments as well, in an effort to heal the deceptively negative connections made in the brain to smoking.

Hypnosis

If you’re a believer of Freudian thought, then the effects of subconscious armament may be up your alley. Hypnosis looks to strengthen the subconscious mind by searching for unconscious rationale for why you smoke. By locating these triggers, hypnotists’ look to reconfigure your dependence on that thinking by replacing it with positive reinforcement. Different types of suggestive therapy can be used to help patients relax and envision scenarios that encourage, support and motivate those who wish to quit smoking.

When push comes to shove, the best method for quitting smoking will be discovered once you choose to quit. There will always be arguments to the contrary that dispel the helping properties of many, if not all of the smoking cessation products and practices that are used.

These things work for some and not for others; mind over matter, placebo effect or not. If a person can find success by means of any of the mentioned treatments, how it was achieved should be secondary to their achievement. Try what you think will benefit you most, but know that quitting smoking is a war, not a battle.